LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Phil Mickelson has grown to love the Open Championship. Sort of. He loves it more now than he did 20 years ago.
Last year at Royal St. George’s provided the spark Mickelson needed. He had always struggled while playing in poor conditions but somehow mustered some Sunday magic and got into contention. Ultimately he faltered with the putter over the last eight holes and ended up tied for second place, his best ever finish in this championship.
In fact, a third-place finish at Royal Troon in 2004 was the only other time Mickelson has recorded a top-10 finish here in 18 attempts. He has missed the cut three times and has finished 40th or worse seven other times when he has made the cut.
“I think what was so fun for me about last year was that I was able to make a move in horrible weather and that’s one of the things that has excited me because historically I’ve not played well in bad weather,” Mickelson said Tuesday. “Now I look at it a little bit differently. I almost welcome it.”
Asked to describe his attitude toward this event Mickelson, with his trademark smirk, said “It’s evolved favorably.”